Sir John Borlase Warren
Sir John Borlase Warren.

Sir J. B. Warren.—A hundred years or so ago, there lived in Stapleford Hall a great man, Sir John Borlace Warren. As a boy he had a passion for the sea. We who live 100 miles from the sea, must never forget that we live in an island surrounded by the sea, and we must value very highly the Merchant Navy which carries goods to and from all parts of the world, and the Royal Navy that protects both our commerce and our homes. Sir John rose to great eminence, commanded many ships, and fought many actions, and became an Admiral. He had many good qualities, for he was active, as we all ought to be; he was skilful, as we may by effort become; brave and daring, as we must be in danger and difficulty. He had at the same time a kind and benevolent heart, and so went and by payment out of his own pocket set at liberty some poor debtors who were in prison. He was a gentleman that any one could speak to, for he was very polite as every man ought to be, since civility and courtesy are priceless ornaments to a good character ; and as a Member of Parliament, and a county magistrate he was useful to the county, and was much esteemed. His excellent wife spent £8000 in building the National Schools.

Good Men.—Not many great men have been born or lived in Stapleford, but there have been many good men and women, who have done their duty, and have done it well; who have worked and suffered, lived virtuously, brought up their families, done kind actions to their fellow-men, and departed in God's good time. Such people are "the salt of the earth."

Changes.—You may learn much by noting the changes that have taken place in the parish. The land that was held in villienage—that is, subject to bondage, and to compulsory service to the lord of the manor without payment, with few rights and many wrongs—is now freehold. The houses are no longer mud, wattle, and thatched huts of one or two rooms, with the sleeping accommodation badly lighted and ventilated, and scarcely providing for the decencies of life, but are larger, healthier, and better. The bridge across the Erewash has taken the place of the ford. Poor Erewash may complain that she has been more neglected and injured than any other stream, but even she has the promise of improved attention, and good water is supplied to the houses. Gas has taken the place of the "farthing dip," and matches of the tinder box. A canal has been followed by a railway, by cycles, motor cars, and will be soon by electric traction. The post office has added the telegraph and the telephone. That marvel of ingenuity, the lace machine, with its 7,000 to 10,000 threads and mysterious jacquard, has banished the hand loom. The children are better taught, better fed, and better clothed, and people live longer, and have more joy in life than in the olden times.

Schools.—Stapleford is now well supplied with schools, and these are of great advantage to a parish if well used, but, like a valuable lace machine, useless if not well worked. It is no part of my object to refer to what is taught in the schools—the teachers know this much better than an outsider can know. I doubt not the teachers are able and conscientious, and have a definite aim to make you good citizens. I will, therefore, only say be loyal to them, obey them, co-operate with them, and while it will be more agreeable to them, yours will be the benefit.

There is much more in the history of Stapleford that should be told much as to its geology and natural history; much as to its past prominent men that Thoroton and others have told ; many interesting particulars as to the cross, as explained by Mr. Scattergood ; and much as to the Church and its features, monuments, and bells ; and as to the Parish Registers that Mr. Gill and Mr. Fellows will shortly publish in connection with the Thoroton Society, and much as to its modern and social history that may well be studied.

Reading.—I will not advise you to read much, for too much reading may be as bad as too much eating Much reading will not make us wise, nor much eating strong. We need much thinking in the one case, and good digestion in the other. There are, however, two books I urge you to read : one is the Bible, which reveals to us Christ, and gives laws from Heaven for life on earth ; and the other is the Book of Stapleford. What ! yon never heard of the Book of Stapleford ? I will tell you of it. In that book you may see over 7,000 men, women, and children, with their varieties of forms, faces, dispositions, characters, circumstances, occupations, etc., and many of their faces are the title page, showing the contents within, with their hopes and fears, and joys and sorrows. " The proper study of mankind is man " In the Book of Stapleford there are to be seen houses of every variety of shape, size, cost, value, and use. Here are many animals of different sizes, colour, habit, use, value. There are trees, shrubs, flowers, and fruits of endless variety. Here are birds of different plumage and notes, with their varied times of arrival and departure ; gardens and nurseries, hills and dales, all helping to make Stapleford a pleasant place in which to live.

The Book of Stapleford—or rather the teaching of Nature in Stapleford—is a wonderful book, having instruction for each day in the year, with 865 pages, and a new and revised edition is issued without cost every year; while above you is the grandest picture—the starry heavens, the sun, the moon, and the clouds.

With regard to both of the books of which I have spoken, let me say, in the words of the Prayer Book, "Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them."

Look Out!—Now, boys, here you are set down in Stapleford for a few days or years. What are you going to do? Here are your parents, who have striven hard to feed and clothe you. Are you going to repay their sacrifice, not in money (though I could kick a boy who refuses or neglects to work and pay for his father and mother when they need it), but in loving obedience, and trying to make home and the family happy ? Here are neigbours, with whom you must live in peace, and to whom you may, with advantage, do many a kind neighbourly action. Here are employers of labour, carrying on trades requiring activity, plod, judgment, skill, honesty, and all that makes a reliable workman, and needing your help. Will you help them In learning to work in the very best manner possible, so that the work done may be a credit to the workman and to the employer? Here are thousands of women and girls, to whom you are expected to act like a gentleman, with all courtesy and politeness. Here are many sick and sorrowing, demanding your pity and help. Here is a loving God, saying "Give me your heart and your hand, and let us work together for the good of everybody". What response will you make?

Work.—You, now at School, will shortly have to go to work. Let me advise you to take a positive pleasure in work. You can easily do it. Whatever you have to do, do it at once; do it heartily; do it well. If you have to clean a pair of boots make them shine; if you have an errand to go, go like a lamplighter; be thorough, right through from beginning to end, from the top to the bottom; let your work be well done. Learn a trade. Do not be satisfied with obtaining a situation or getting work,— learn a trade; you may get less money, but never mind. Get to know all about it that you can learn: its raw material, its mode of manufacture, the skilful use of its tools, the best means of securing a good finish, its markets and all other particulars obtainable,—and if you do not obtain success you will deserve it, which is better.

Sports.—You will of course have your sports; put your hearts into them; play with a will, and play fairly. Do not be spectators, be actors; it always seems to me a paltry business for ten thousand people to be gazing and shouting at twenty-two actors. The ten thousand lose the benefit of stirred blood, of trained limb, of quick eye, of self-reliance, and instant decision, but they get—what? damp feet, and sore throats.

Let your sports always be subject to your work and duty;—like mustard giving a relish to the beef. Your stomach will be disordered if you live on mustard. Your life will be a huge failure if you live for sport.

For Country.—Your country may need your service in its defence. For this purpose I recommend you to join a Life Brigade or a Boys' Brigade. It is to be hoped that the day may come when the working men of every country will refuse to fight, and when national quarrels will he settled by arbitration, but until that happy-day arrives, and while other nations are wasting their powers in military training,we shall be living in a fool's paradise if we make no preparation, and merely hopethat all will be well. Music hall patriotism is cheap. Our young fellows will be all the better for some vigorous training in their leisure hours ; moreover, a little discipline hurts nobody. Remember you are a part of a great nation, and the grandest empire the world has ever seen. We have no right to extend it by war, for we must be lovers of peace, but we must help to administer it, and if necessary defend it.

There are evils in the country and in Stapleford. You must do your part in removing such evils as drunkenness, gambling, juvenile smoking, bad language, etc Your part will best be done by joining heartily in the work of a Band of Hope.

A Caution.—I want to caution you with regard to a boy nonliving in Stapleford, who may do you great harm if not properly controlled. He is liable sometimes to go mad with passion or temper, and at other times to sulk. His eyes, mouth, and face then look very disagreeable, and he then says and does things that are bad. Look out at such times. What do you say ? You are not afraid of any boy you have ever seen. Of course you are not, for you are not a coward, nor a cad. Still be careful. What is his name, do you ask ? Well, first mention your own name. Ah! that is the boy I mean. Be watchful.

" To thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou can'st not then be false to any man."


" Honour and shame from no condition rise. Act well your part, there all the honour lies."


I Will.—I have now endeavoured to help you, and I want you to carefully consider, and if you agree, to resolve, and then to sign, the following form :—

"I will not drink intoxicating liquors, nor smoke tobacco, until I am 21 years of age, and I will never bet more than half a farthing."

Date......................................           Signed...................................................

note.--This address has exceeded the limits of a School circular, and must, therefore, be issued separately. It was commenced at Whitby, where I accompanied my wife on the ground of her failing health. It is finished in a bereaved home. The help-meet and companion of fifty years, whose forte was always to make home happy, has been removed "until the day dawn." —E.M.

Nottingham, Christmas, 1906.

Robert Mellors